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6 Shocking Side Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep Deprivation

Everyone needs sleep, but who has the time when there's work to catch up on, friends to socialize with, sweat sessions to rock and a full DVR to plow through? Turns out, though, that the benefits of nixing sleep deprivation far outweigh all of those excuses. We tapped top health experts to get the scoop on how depriving yourself of sleep can affect everything from your weight to your performance at work—and why you need to start making sleep a top priority before your head hits the pillow tonight.

You Lose Focus

If you can't remember the assignment your boss gave you 20 minutes ago, or that usually tolerable coworker is really grating on your nerves, it's time to take a look at the amount of sleep you are—or aren't—getting each night. "Our focus, memory, and creativity are the first to suffer when we skimp on zzz's," says Cristina Peerenboom, co-founder of POUNDfit.com. "Stress levels skyrocket and we get sluggish when we log less than seven hours of sleep, making it tough to multitask, execute day-to-day responsibilities, or power through a workout." Is that all-nighter to binge-watch Orange Is the New Black (as much as we love it) worth putting your job on the line? Didn't think so.

Quick Fix: You might think you're doing your career a favor by responding to emails before bed, but it could come at the cost of your focus the next day. Get rid of the electronics before bedtime by setting a "gadget curfew." One hour before you plan on being fast asleep, turn off your phone, tablet, and whatever else could possibly buzz and distract you. Put them in a drawer or in another room—and don't check them until morning!

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